One night, my eight-year-old daughter asked me to lay down with her as I was putting her to bed. So I did, and I was so tired I immediately began to drift off to sleep. Often, when I’m going to sleep, I feel like I’m falling and suddenly wake up startled. That’s what happened and my daughter has seen me do it a lot. She said, “Did you feel like you were falling? Here, take my hand. That way, when you feel like you’re falling, you’ll know that I’ve got you.”
Life is difficult. When obligations pile up, pressures reach a boiling point, and the challenges seem insurmountable, we can start to spiral downward. In those moments, hope grabs hold of us and sometimes can be the only thing that keeps us going. We all need hope, especially when our situations feel gloomy. If you are going through something difficult, or to prepare you for future challenges, here are 5 things that bring hope today.
1. Tough times only last for a time.
It may seem like this tumultuous time will never end, but it will. Life moves in seasons and seasons change. If you’re seeking wise counsel, acting with self-discipline, and remaining faithful to your family, friends, and coworkers, your situation will improve. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there are times to tear down, weep, and mourn, but there are also times to heal, build, laugh, and dance. Your time to do the latter will come.
2. Tough times build character.
When you ask people who don’t like running how they’d feel running 10 miles, they shudder. But if you ask someone who has run a marathon, 10 miles seems like nothing. Struggles tend to build endurance, grit, and determination. They also give us a deeper sense of empathy. Your integrity can also grow stronger when you stay honest and maintain moral values while being pressured to abandon them. And if moral failure is your challenge right now, this is your opportunity to rebuild.
3. Great triumphs involve great adversity.
Challenging circumstances can make our stories better. Every great story involves some kind of suffering, low point, or struggle to overcome. You may look back at this moment many years from now and be grateful for it. There may be more difficult times coming that will cause you to look back and remember your triumph now. Or perhaps what you’ll remember is that you made it—and that you can make it again.The longer it takes to receive something good, the more we cherish it.
4. Bad times build our appreciation for what is good.
When good things come easily, we can take them for granted. My wife’s cousin was in the U.S. Marines and when circumstances are tough, he often says, “Well, we’re not in a ditch getting shot at.” Bad times give us perspective and a greater appreciation of our blessings. The longer it takes to receive something good, the more we cherish it.
5. God is good and at work.
It’s easy during these seasons to doubt God’s character or even His existence. In my toughest moments, I’ve had plenty of doubt and anger at God. In the end, I’ve come to several conclusions. God exists and is good. More than anything, I’ve realized He is close and at work when things are tough. Job is one the greatest examples of suffering and while God allowed Job to suffer, He also restored him. Job 42:10 says, “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Or see what Psalm 34:18 says: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
If you want more examples, read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and see what Jesus did every time he encountered the suffering, downtrodden, lepers, lame, demon-possessed, blind, and broken. He brought healing, restoration, and hope. God is hope—the greatest hope we have.
Sound off: What gives you hope today?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Where do you find hope when things are tough?”